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Bookcrossing movement promotion – Mayor Chu Encourages Citizens to read

 New Taipei City Government took the lead in promoting bookcrossing movement. There would be bookcrossing service stands or bags at train stations, MRT stations and buses for booklovers. Mayor Chu launched the movement on 10/13/2013 in B1 of Banqiao train station. He encouraged smartphone addicts to do more reading than internet surfing.

Chu said that the New Taipei City was not the first to hit upon the idea of “Bookcrossing.” This idea had been putted into action for many years in developed countries, and became very common. He recalled that when he took subway abroad, most of passengers were reading. However, thanked to mobile technology development in recent years, train and MRT passengers tended to use smartphones rather than reading books, which was harmful to eyesight. Therefore, he came up with an idea of initiating a reading movement for citizens. This bookcrossing movement enrolled more people to share their books for others.

Mayor Chu specifically mentioned the meaning of sharing. He said that there were two kinds of “banks” in New Taipei City. One was “material bank” and the other was “volunteer bank.” The former was a platform encouraging people to donate stuff and to share with others in need. The material bank had run for two years in the city, and 380 million valued stuff had been accumulated. Stuff was interchanged among people in need. The execution could not only express people’s generosity but also make good use of old material. The latter was “volunteer bank.” The principle of the bank was to circulate caring. By voluntarily helping other people, people “saved” for themselves and their families, and they could “withdraw” when they needed. People served others now and others served them in return in the future. The bookcrossing movement was based on this kind of concept.

Chu said that the City Government was glad to cooperate with Taiwan Book Crossing Association to promote this movement. He hoped that the city could act as the starting point for the movement since it had the greatest number of people among all the cities in Taiwan. Together with floating population, there were around 5 million people in the city. For citizens usually commuted by public transit, bookcrossing bags were set in train stations and MRT stations, on buses and cultural buildings, which let people reach good books all the time. In the future, it was hoped to expand the setup of bookcrossing bags to convenient stores and coffee shops. In this way, the form of “books for your convenience” would be created just like “umbrellas for your convenience.”

Cultural Affairs Department mentioned that the City Government promoted this bookcrossing movement by cooperating with Taiwan Railway Company and other units. Book bags were set up in ten train stations, public libraries, cultural buildings, Banqiao bus station, MRT stations and 200 CitiAir buses. Also, several bookcrossing stations were built in several MRT stations of Tamsui line and Xinzhuang line. But how did people bookcross? People shared their books by simply going to public libraries to get bookcrossing tags, labels or stickers, and they pasted their books with those stickers. Then the books were put into a bookcrossing bag, and they could start to “flow.” Hence, people could share happiness of reading by bookcrossing.

Besides the launch ceremony taking place at Banqiao railway station, Cultural Affairs Department would host “read aloud flash mob” in Shulin station on October 14 and Banqiao station on October 16. Film screenings of The Jane Austen Book Club and The Hours would be held at 7 pm in Fuzhong 15 on October 21 and October 28. Bookcrossing DIY activity would be held in all libraries of the city from October 19 to the end of December.